In a television broadcast Taoiseach Dr Garret FitzGerald outlines the serious financial situation the country is in.
Ahead of the introduction of a supplementary budget, Dr Garret FitzGerald gives his first address to the nation as Taoiseach and outlines the dire situation of the country's economy.
The Fine Gael Labour coalition government elected in June 1981 is facing many challenges. The continuing hunger strikes in Northern Ireland have led to two more deaths and the Taoiseach says the government are committed to finding a resolution to the crisis.
The Taoiseach outlines some of the government plans and decisions to be made to address the state of the economy.
You have heard that the situation is bad and that is true.
Illustrating the scale of the problem, Dr FitzGerald says there is no simple solution but assures the public that all that can be done will be done. The starting point for a solution is to understand the extent of the problems.
The country and the government have been left with desperate problems.
The variables at play include a world economic recession, a fall in the rate of growth of exports, rising unemployment, a loss of competitiveness against other EEC countries, high wages and high prices. The underlying problem is the critical state of the public finances.
Immediate action is required in relation to day to day government spending and borrowing with actual figures far exceeding plans on both counts. Dr FitzGerald reiterates the message of his predecessor as Taoiseach Charles Haughey,
As a nation, we are living far beyond our means.
Dr FitzGerald goes on to outline immediate and long term actions that the government will take to prevent the declining economy from continuing. These measures include aid for farming, tourism, manufacturing, and third level students. A youth employment agency will be immediately established to alleviate unemployment. Other measures and supports will be announced next week when details of the supplementary budget are announced.
These measures are necessary solely to start putting right the economic disorder we have inherited.
Progressive income tax reforms are to be introduced at the earliest possible date, designed to protect those most in financial need.
The nation like the household has to live within its means.
Despite the tough times ahead, Dr FitzGerald believes that there is hope. He points to Ireland’s potential for economic growth, a young well-educated workforce, incentives for foreign investment, the capacity to expand the agricultural industry, and established mineral resources.
Above all, we have a spirit of neighbourliness and caring for each other that is not a feature of other countries nearby.
Dr FitzGerald praises the country’s voluntary sector whose work is now needed more than ever.
Demands will be made on all citizens which will be necessary to put the economy in order. Noting that a sound economy will bring out the best that the country is capable of Dr FitzGerald warns if actions are not taken now, it will lead to "national bankruptcy and despair".
While the economic picture is grim, Dr FitzGerald believes that it is not hopeless and opportunities for recovery need to be seized urgently. He appeals to the public to approve of these measures in the interests of the country as a whole.
I seek this evening, everyone’s help in this national effort.
Dr FitzGerald reiterates that there are no easy options and pledges his and the government's unrelenting effort to find a solution to the economic crisis.
I said before I became Taoiseach that I would tell you the truth and I have.
'Broadcast From An Taoiseach’ on 17 July 1981.